Bakers Footwear Not Bailing on Catalog

A recent release detailing cost-cutting initiatives might imply that Bakers Footwear Group plans to pull the plug on its fledgling print catalog. But that’s not the case, according to a spokesperson.

The Sept. 24 release states: “The company has planned to reduce about $2.5 million of selling expenses by eliminating specific marketing and catalog expenditures determined to be unproductive and by reducing store payroll and other store expenses.” St. Louis-based Bakers Footwear Group had launched its 32-page catalog in March 2006.

While no one from Bakers returned calls to Multichannel Merchant, a representative of its PR firm insists that the company is keeping the catalog, albeit with a reduced circulation. “It’s correct that the catalog business will not eliminated, just reduced in some type of way in terms of circulation,” says Jane Thorn Leeson of Integrated Corporate Relations.

The catalog may actually be a bright spot for Bakers: For the second quarter ended Aug. 4, company sales fell 11%, to $42 million. Net income plunged 31%, to $9.3 million, from $13.5 million a year ago in the same period. But direct sales rose nearly 19%.

Bakers Footwear Group, which owns the Bakers women’s shoe stores and the Wild Pair retail chain, which sells shoes for men and women, is planning several cost-reduction strategies to improve profitability, including reducing freight expense, staffing cuts in the buying team, and converting or closing identified underperforming stores. The company also reported that president/director Michele Bergerac has resigned and chairman/CEO Peter Edison will assume the title of president.

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